Loan by Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC)

The Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) on Friday said it has secured a fresh loan from two insurance companies to finance its expansion plans next year.

In a statement, MNTC said it obtained a P1-billion fixed rate loan from Insular Life Assurance Company Ltd. (InsularLife) and the Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company (PhilamLife).

The Insular Investment & Trust Corp. is the loan lead arranger.

The loan agreement provides for two bullet repayment tranches of P500 million on the 10th and 15th year of the loan repayment period.

“This is MNTC’s first 15-year loan transaction,” Rodrigo E. Franco, MNTC president said adding that “what is remarkable is that the facility is unsecured — an unmistakable sign of the solid confidence of the financing community in MNTC’s stability even in the long term.”

Ronnie Alcantara, president of Insular Investment & Trust Corp., said the loan facility was a breakthrough deal as it established a 15-year benchmark for a private sector loan facility.

Earlier, the MNTC sealed a P10.6-billion unsecured loan with major local creditors, the proceeds of which were allocated for debt refinancing and execution of its expansion plans.

The loan signaled the complete transformation of MNTCs financing regime from a limited-recourse project finance to corporate finance.

The new loans extended by InsularLife and PhilamLife further extended the financing tenor.

The MNTC will integrate the operations of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX)following the signing of the latter’s concession agreement with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

With the signing of the SCTEX agreement, motorists will soon enjoy the benefits of integration in the form of seamless travel between the NLEX and SCTEX.

The MNTC has also set in motion its NLEX Phase 2 expansion program, involving the construction of vital linkages to major thoroughfares in Metro Manila, introducing the concept of “urban expressways” which proved popular in many capitals of Europe.

Among these projected secondary tollways is the NLEX Harbor Link, linking the NLEX to Manila’s Port Area via another tollway connecting the NLEX main to the newly built cloverleaf junction in Valenzuela City. This expressway link is expected to significantly speed up and reduce the cost of transporting cargo from Central and Northern Luzon to the North Harbor, the domestic port complex of Metro Manila.

The NLEX Harbor Link will be made up of two parts: Segment 9 and Segment 10, two components of MNTC’s ambitious NLEX Phase 2 project, which is designed to make the expressway more accessible to motorists.

Segment 9, measuring 2.42 kilometers long, will link the NLEX to McArthur Highway, the old route to Central and Northern Luzon. When completed, this road will ease traffic at the NLEX’s Valenzuela interchange, help decongest the Balintawak-Cubao stretch of Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA), and is expected to spur the development of Metro Manila’s flood-prone Camanava (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela) area.

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